A common question is asked, “Is it okay to vacuum your rug?”
Answer: It depends. There is not one machine that works best on all textiles.
Vacuuming your rug is the best thing you can do to extend the life of your favorite rugs and keep your home air fresh (wool rugs are excellent air filters). Let’s talk about vacuums and rugs.
The damage caused by dirt, dust, and grit on rugs is best explained in this video. This video is an excellent example of what happens to carpets when they are not cleaned regularly.
The message that appears at the end says:
Wool rugs should be cleaned every 1 to 3 Years depending on the following:
The level of activity in the rug
Quality of wool
If the carpet has been vacuumed PROPERLY or not.
Regarding the first factor, ACTIVITY – low-traffic rugs need washing less frequently than rugs with higher activity. Our clients with pets or small children clean their entry and main room rugs yearly. We may wash carpets in guest rooms or low-use rooms every three years.
The second factor is WOOL QUALITY. Better quality wool repels dirt and spills more effectively, so regular vacuuming and spot cleaning are more effective. Wool fiber protector treatments approved for the thread can make less-quality wool rugs more repellent. Regular vacuuming will help your carpet repel more contaminants.
The third factor is what confuses many rug owners: Vacuuming PROPERLY. What does this mean?
What I do and recommend to my clients in terms of regular maintenance for their rugs between thorough cleanings is what I will share with you.
How to Vacuum Your Rug Properly
There are three major categories of rugs – WOVEN, TUFTED, and SHAG.
WOVEN rugs have a backside that mirrors the design on the front. TUFTED rugs have a seat that is covered with material. Latex is used to hold the carpet together. SHAG rugs, known as long pile rugs, are trendy today.
Although no vacuum cleaner can do all three things, many vacuums are better than others and offer different options for suction/brushing.
Vacuuming your rugs is the same as dusting them. Dust them regularly.
If you have them, you will be familiar with the fine dust that settles on your floors and counters. You may need to dust your counters and floor surfaces daily or weekly, depending on where you live and the quality of your air filter system.
Fine dust particles also fall on your carpets and rugs. It’s just that you notice it less on smooth, flat surfaces.
The thicker and more compacted carpet fibers in your wall-to-wall carpet can hold up to one pound of dry particles per square foot before they look dirty. This is a lot of grit and dust. This is why professional carpet cleaners vacuum your carpet BEFORE steam cleaning it to remove all the soil.
The soil level on your WOOL carpets, which have a looser construction, can reach one pound per square foot before they look dirty. Removing 2-5 lbs of dry soil from a rug is not unusual for us to remove it using our pre-wash dusting.
If you don’t remove the grit that has settled at the tip of your rug’s wool fibers, it can begin to grind down the base. The tiny sharp edges cut the threads, creating wear spots in your rug. The white foundation fibers of the cotton begin to show through in white lines and as white knots.
Catching the dust/grit is important before entering your rug’s base fibers.
You will not be able to protect your rug if you do not vacuum it regularly and if it has been more than two years since you last washed it. Go wash it, then start this routine.
The goal is to reduce the amount of dust/grit until your next wash.
The vacuum’s “suction,” not the power brushing, is most important for dusting. Most brushes are too aggressive to be used on wool. If you use an upright vacuum with a beater bar, you should set the vacuum at its highest setting (to prevent it from digging in the wool pile) or turn off the rotation bar if possible.
The rug is “dusted” and not beaten to death.
Vacuuming WOVEN Wool Rugs
My vacuum cleaner at home is of the canister type. It’s a Miele.
This blog does not contain a link for purchasing a Miele vacuum because I do not want to sell vacuums. Indeed, I am often asked what vacuum I have, so I don’t want to keep it a secret.
Miele vacuums are usually at the high end of the market. They will not be found in regular appliance stores but in specialty vacuum repair and retail shops. We also stock vacuums by Sanitaire and Sebo, carpet sweepers, industrial wet/dry vacuums, and other products.
Other “excellent” vacuums cost much less. Look at the vacuum options when you shop for one. This Miele vacuum model has a range of options for cleaning rugs. I can use it on carpets, floors, and rugs.
This unit comes with a power brush head that can be detached for deeper cleaning my carpets and rugs. This head can be switched on and off by a simple switch. The tool also comes with smaller attachments that I can use to dust a hard surface or handle my small rugs or wall-hanging rugs.
When buying WOVEN rugs, you can choose between lighter, looser weaves and heavier, more durable ones. Both require regular dusting but in different ways.